Learning all the on-page factors & how to use it
SEO can be tough and with good reason.
After all, it’s through effective SEO that your business can actually feature on the top SERP locations.
And once you do that, there’s no stopping the flow of customers that bring you business.
Trouble is, effective SEO is easier said than done, and there are a wide number of considerations to take into account.
As we saw in the previous installment of our Beginner’s Guide To SEO, there are multiple types of SEO tactics that you can use.
And today, I’m going to lay bare the secrets of On-Page SEO before you.
As you already know ( if you don’t, please refer to the previous section in the series), on-page SEO refers to SEO tactics that deal with modifying elements and content for individual web pages in order to help them rank well.
Seen from that perspective, on-page tactics mainly deal with two forms of optimizations:
In this article, I’m going to help you navigate both, and come out on top.
Let’s get started.
On Page SEO – Content-based
Remember keyword research?
Yes, that’s right, the practice of selecting the right search terms that you want to rank for.
Once you’ve narrowed down your target terms, now it’s time to create content around these keywords.
This is where the real trouble begins.
How do you create content that can top your competitors?
Well, the best way to beat the competition is by understanding the kind of content that they are providing, and then bettering that.
One of the easiest methods to do this is to search for your target terms using your target search engine and making note of the kind of content that comes up.
Some of the common type of content that you might find during your research:
- Article (Reviews, Informational)
- Listicle or comparison
- Product (e-commerce)
- Case studies or tutorial
Once you have a clear idea of the type of content that you need to create, put in the effort to create stuff that outshines your competitors by a long shot.
Bad SEO Practices to Avoid
There was a time when search engines were a lot less smart, and ranking simply meant mentioning the required keywords enough times in the content.
Today, with AI and machine learning threw into the mix, things are hardly that simple.
In fact, trying to resort to underhanded, Black-Hat tactics can actually do your website more harm than good.
That’s why, when you’re creating content for on-page SEO, it’s best to know which traps to avoid.
In the following sections, I’ve listed some of the common SEO mistakes that you should take care to avoid while creating content for on-page SEO.
1. Duplicate and thin content
The first thing that you need to avoid is using content that’s thin, which is to say the same content repeated across multiple pages for each occurrence of the keyword.
While such content pages used to be a viable strategy during the initial days of search engine technology, now it’s decidedly frowned upon.
If you had heard of doorway pages, then I’m sure you know how to differentiate thin content along the way.
Along with thin content, you should also take care to avoid duplicate content. Duplicate content refers to content that you’ve taken from other sources, usually without permission.
I use Copyscape.com to check for plagiarism most of the time whenever I published an article or page.
Such unauthorized use of content can land you into legal trouble, not to mention harming your search credibility.
2. Keyword stuffing
This is, of course, the cardinal SEO sin.
Keyword stuffing refers to using specific keywords too many times in the same content piece.
Doing so makes the content seem mechanical, and significantly harms the readability of the content.
Instead of doing keyword stuffing, why not deployed the LSI (latent semantic indexing) where you can include related keywords that fits into your article topic.
While a certain amount of stuffing is still allowed, search engines such as Google view this practice in a bad light.
Too much stuffing can actually cause your website to be blacklisted, so think twice before taking this route.
3. Content cloaking
In general, it’s expected that your website presents the same content to search engine crawlers as to human users.
In some cases, however, a website hides text within the HTML itself that’s not visible to a human visitor.
This practice, known as cloaking, is against search guidelines and can be used for both positive as well as negative user experience.
While cloaking for positive UX is accepted, cloaking with negative intent can be penalized.
4. Machine-spun content
This is practically an insult to both readers and content creators who put in the effort to create stellar content that delivers results.
Machine-spun content is basically software-generated content that’s poorly put together.
In fact, most readers can easily distinguish between machine-spun content and human-written content.
It’s important to note that not all auto-generated content is penalized by Google.
Due to rapid advancements in machine learning and computational linguistics, content generators today can create better quality content. It’s only the low-quality materials that seek to manipulate search rankings that attract penalties.
So, now that you know which SEO Sins you need to avoid when creating content, now it’s time to take a look into the more element-based aspects of on-page SEO.
6 Important Element-based On Page SEO
On-Page SEO doesn’t just end with content creation; rather, this is where the process begins.
Once you’ve created the content, next you need to optimize multiple aspects of it.
In this section, I’m going to acquaint you with just that.
1. Header Tags
These are HTML elements that are mainly used to designate sectional headers. Header tags usually run from <H1> to <H6>, in decreasing order of size. The H1 tag is usually reserved for the page title.
When creating headers for your content page, make sure that it contains the main keyword(s) for the page.
Also, you should take care to use successively decreasing headers for more specific content.
As with the latest development on passage indexing, you could actually use the different header tag for your sub-topic to create a well covered article or content.
At this point, I’d urge you to keep in mind the fact that optimized headers alone won’t boost your search ranking.
There are several other factors on which this depends, and that’s what I’ll explore next.
2. Internal Linking
We already know that for your website to be indexed and ranked, it must first be crawled.
And this crawl-ability of your website depends to a large extent on the site’s internal linkages.
Effectively linking to other pages on your website helps to pass on link juice, and allows visitors to navigate your site better.
Along with improving the accessibility of links, you should also take care and pay attention to the anchor text, i.e. the text which acts as the hyperlink.
The anchor text is important in that it helps search engines understand the destination page’s content.
However, over-optimization can look like keyword stuffing, so be sure to be natural when optimizing anchor texts.
And while we’re on the topic of linking, it’s wise to mention that too many links can actually dilute the link juice.
So, take care to link naturally, and only when it’s absolutely necessary and it add in value to the readers.
Bottom line, an orphan page will certainly not contributing to good SEO practices.
When you’re maintaining a large website, it’s common to want to remove or rename web pages occasionally.
While doing so, however, you must take care to update all links that point to the old URL.
Otherwise, crawlers will not be able to reach the new pages.
Of course, you can also use redirects to point to the new location, but take care not to chain too many redirects.
In general, Google advises not chaining more than 5 redirects.
4. Optimizing Images
Hi-res images can slow down a website’s performance like nothing else.
Therefore, to ensure that your website doesn’t get ranked lower due to slow load speeds, be sure to compress images to a suitable size. My favorite site to compress images would be tinyjpg or compressjpg.
There’s no fixed formula for this, and you’ll have to find the best fit for your website.
Along with compressing images, you also need to settle on the correct image format and provide the right alt-text.
This latter optimization helps crawlers, which are text-based, to better understand your images.
Also, be sure to use these free google tools to submit an image sitemap to your Google Search Console account for better indexing.
5. Formatting for Featured Snippet
Featured snippets are the most coveted search positions as they appear above even the paid results.
Naturally, you’d want your site to rank for the featured snippets.
But that is easier said than done, and you need to format your page content based on a number of factors in order to get that position.
Some of the aspects that you’d have to optimize for maximizing your chances of getting featured snippets are mentioned below:
- Text size, color, and bullet points
- Schema markup
- Appropriate header hierarchy
- Proper formatting and paragraph breaks
6. Title Tag and Meta Description
Finally, I must remind you to optimize your title tags and meta descriptions.
These are the elements that determine how visitors see your search results.
And as first impressions are usually lasting ones, you can be sure that a properly optimized title and meta will go a long way towards helping your website rank well.
Use our SERP snippet preview tool to have a proper estimation on how your SERP listing will shows up in the organic result
A properly and intriguing title and description can increase your click-through-rate and this will certainly impact your SEO score for the betterment.
Well, that’s about all I have to say regarding on-page SEO.
Above are the least minimum scope that should be covered by any SEO services. On page are way beyond the 6 elements mentioned such as conversion, funneling and etc.
You can easily understand that the topic is vast, and you’ll get a better idea as you go through the upcoming posts in the series.
In this beginner’s guide to SEO series, I’ll just leave you guys with the bare basic.
Till then, be sure to practice what I’ve preached, and take your SEO efforts to greater heights.
Feel free to continue exploring the rest of the chapters below:
2. Technical SEO Fixes
A great website not only provide valuable and useful content to the searches as what we’ve mentioned above.
But it should also encompass a great flexibility and stellar user experience to the readers.
Visitors know how to navigate around your site with ease, pages loading instantly and most importantly there’s no security vulnerabilities within your website.
Things get a bit technical and complex from here. Buckle up.
3. Off Page Optimization
Technically speaking this should be one of the area that is out of our hands.
This branch of SEO involves tactics that aren’t really happening on your website.
But with good practices and some tips, you should get things rolling with some marketing effort here.
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